UH News

Kick Off the Summer Travel Season Safely

Friday, May 24, 2013

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Reminds Parents To Model Safe Driving Behaviors For Kids

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, and the summertime peak in motor vehicle crash rates: more crashes take place from May to September than any other time of year. The experts at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital remind parents and caregivers that being properly restrained—with car seats for infants and toddlers, booster seats for children too big for car seats but too small for seat belts alone, and seat belts for older kids, teens, and adults—is the single best way to reduce risk of injury or death in a motor vehicle crash.

As you hit the road this weekend, whether it’s going across town to Grandma’s house or across the country, make sure everyone in your vehicle is protected. Most parents are careful to restrain younger children, but you may forget to remind older kids about using their seat belts. What’s more, 1 in 4 Cuyahoga County adults is failing to buckle up themselves. So why is it so important for parents to use seat belts every time you’re in a car?

  1. Because you’re a role model
    Parent belt use is the single biggest predictor of child belt use once children have outgrown car seats. Your kids are always watching you, even when you’re not aware of it. Having a parent who always buckles up and always reminds children to buckle up are the two best predictors of restraint use for children at every age—even teenagers.
  2. Because you want to be able to help your children in the event of a crash
    If you are in a crash, making sure you’re buckled up too gives you a better chance of being unharmed and alert and able to tend to your children’s needs. Also keep in mind that anything in your vehicle that’s not secured becomes a missile in a crash that can potentially injure or kill vehicle occupants—that means that your unrestrained body could hurt your children in a crash, even if they are restrained.
  3. Because it’s the law
    Buckling up is important any time of the year, but police officers throughout Cuyahoga County and the nation are putting special emphasis on enforcing seat belt laws over the Memorial Day weekend with the Click It or Ticket law enforcement mobilization, which runs from May 20 through June 2.

“When your kids see you buckle up every time you get in the car, and watch you put off making phone calls or checking texts until you’ve reached your destination, they’ll know that safety is important to you,” notes Kathryn Wesolowski, Injury Prevention Program Manager at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “By the time they’re old enough to get behind the wheel themselves, buckling up will be a lifelong habit.”

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